Monday, September 5, 2011

Peris Horsehoe 2011

I've been running and cycling  lots recently. Recovering from races and training quickly. I thought that slotting in the Peris Horseshoe with its 17.5 miles and 8500ft of ups and downs into my calendar would be good as a last long hard  day befor the 3 peaks at the end of the month.

Saturday I wake with a good hour to fettle myself before I leave. No rushing, I eat plenty, but not too much, I feel a bit off. Not properly ill, but just a bit bleurgh.

As I drive on I graze, and my bleurgh feeling neither transitions to the vomit stage nor does it improve. Llanberis and I decide as it's not going to get worse, it'll probably get better. I register for the race.

The weather forecast for the race was pretty grim. Rain and winds gusting up to 50mph on the tops. In the valley the forecast seemed correct. Rain and lots of it. I dressed accordingly, a thermal long sleeved top with a spare plus the usual full body cover hat and gloves. It was quite warm though in the valley, and I was wondering if the thermal was going to be overkill, there were plenty of other runners in vests.

The first climb heads up through the quarries, then on grass to the summit of Elidir Fawr 2600' in 3 miles, and the most of it runnable. I was enjoying the climb, and reeled in a few over the long climb. Though I definitely wasn't feeling as strong as I should have been.  As we pulled out of the quarries the rain and wind became a lot more noticeable, not in a making progress awkward way, but in a chilly way. I was cold. I stopped put on my extra top, and hat and pushed on.

I kept running, and  I was still cold. Granted the sun wasn't shining, but other people were wearing much less, and I didn't see their teeth chattering. I'd been eating my trusty jelly babies since the off, so fuel shouldn't have been a problem, but by the time I got to the Glyder Fawr climb (under 2 hours out) I was fading fast. Moving just fast enough to not be too cold, but not running too fast and chancing the risk of blowing completely. A long time since I've felt like that.

Coming off Glyder Fawr I avoided my speculative short cut down to Pen Y Pass, and instead took the circuitous path down. No time to try to be clever. The occasional glimpse of the Youth Hostel below spurred me on. Which was as well, as I really was on empty. The option here was to jack, or continue the other half of the horseshoe.

A relatively pleasant 1/2 an hour at the PyP bus shelter spent shivering uncontrollably, before a bus ride back down to Llanberis. Thankyou to the lady who paid my £1 bus fare.

I get warm dry clothes on have some pea and ham soup and feel back in the game. So back in the car, and homeward bound. 1/2 an hour up the road now warmed by the car's heater, I feel the signs of sleepiness. I pull into the services set my alarm for an hours time and sleep. An early night, and even the day after I slept loads.

On Saturday I was disappointed how things had turned out. I've completed this race before when much less fit than now, so I know that it was easily doable. My bleurgh feeling was most likely due to my body saying "Hey I'm tired, lets have a day off" rather than some proper illness.
Though my kit exceeded the minimum FRA race requirements, on the day I was under equipped.
I was pleased how I did my thing once it was clear that a "situation" was a distinct possibility. Making stupid decisions when cold and wet is easy.
I should have taken something a little warmer, and some money for the bus just in case.

Richard Seipp 1 - Peris Horseshoe 1

Rematch next year methinks.


  1. you also have an essential that isn't on the kit list, experience. nice one for making the right decision and getting of the hill safely. next year.... :)

  2. Thanks Kate. Experiencing days similar previously like Saturday certainly did get me home. I suppose a "refresher" every now and then is a good thing.

  3. Somedays things don't go our way, well done for listening to your body....something I should learn!